I am a thrift shop QUEEN

Winter jacket for My Mom

Snow Pants for The Peach

Winter boots for me

Two long-sleeved shirts for The Peach

All items were desperately needed.

Total…. $9

Yes, as a matter of fact I do Rock.

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Take THAT D-Monster!

A1C is down to 8.5!

A little ways to go from our goal of 7, but still…

Kiss my ass Diabetes.

Wait… What happened to October?

It’s already October 25th. Just a week ago we were celebrating Princess Punk’s birthday. Right? WTF happened to the last few weeks? Have things really been that busy? I’m behind at work, behind at home and getting frantic about all the things I have yet to do before the end of the month. Which is less than a week away.

I can’t share my work list, I will just say I have 8 tons of work to do and I can’t haul more than about 2 tons in the next week.

Here’s my home list (at least what I can remember at the moment)

  1. Laundry… The Zen Master decided (after more than a few bitchy comments from me about his lack of folding my work clothes) that he was no longer doing anyone’s laundry but his own. Since I’ve been so busy/distracted/batshit crazy, I didn’t really notice. Untill neither the midget or myself had a single clean article of clothing. I don’t have that many clothes, but it just so happened to coincide with the bringing out of the cold weather stuff so it took me a little longer to become aware of the fact that the dirty laundry was piling up into a massive mountain in the basement. Because my dear Zen Master was still removing the dirty clothes from our room, he was just bringing them downstairs where I couldn’t see them. Out of sight… Which brings me to…
  2. Clothes. The Peach has, within the span of exactly one month, outgrown all the clothes I just bought her to start preschool. So I haver to now (after everything is washed) go through all her clothes and pull out the 4T’s I just bought (and those she had from the summer) and put them in a box for goodwill. I also have to go through my own clothes and pull out all the warm weather clothes and put them up for the winter so I have room in my drawers for all the clean clothes I will soon have. I’m hoping to get rid of some of my stuff too, I’ve gone a little thrift shop crazy over the past few years and I’ve accumulated more second-hand clothes than I really need. So I’ll pick out the nicest stuff and get rid of the rest.
  3. Cleaning. Yuck. Here’s the thing. My family, all of us, including myself, are slobs. Here’s the other thing. I don’t mind mess so much. But when things get dirty? I lose my shit. If you don’t know the difference between messy and dirty, you clearly do not have children. When there are toys in weird places because The Peach decided to play in close proximity to her sister or clothes on the floor because I was too lazy to go downstairs and get the only empty laundry basket, I get slightly annoyed, but I generally just let it go. When there is unidentifiable sticky stuff on my night table or the layer of dog hair on my bedroom rug is so thick I can’t figure out what color it’s supposed to be? Then I get upset. And when I clean, I CLEAN. Thoroughly. Ceiling to floor. Literally. I organize and dust and vacuum the cobwebs out of the corners and move furniture and wash everything down with antibacterial cleaner. My Mom cleans that way too. But I’ve been too busy and tired and My Mom? Well, She’s 68 with bad knees and she shouldn’t have to clean up after everyone else anyway. So we’ve been making do with Princess Punk and The Zen Master’s version of clean. Which is not clean. They pick up the mess (most of it) but there’s no dusting. They vacuum, but only the open spaces. They do the dishes, but don’t wash down the counters. So the house needs a thorough “Mom Clean.” Which I started this weekend, but now I’m wiped out and I my back hurts and I only managed to wash about half the clothes and clean most of my room. But hey, My rug is a really pretty shade of chocolate brown.
  4. Miscellaneous stuff… I have to write to Terry. I haven’t written to him in over 6 months and I feel horrible about it. I have to clean out the fridge. It’s gross. I have to change a few light bulbs and call the repair guy to get a quote on fixing the fridge and find a contractor to get a quote on replacing the doors (so at least we know how much we have to save up) and get the patio table out of the pond where it apparently blew last night. I’m pretty sure it’s beyond repair now. I have to call the plumber and see why they haven’t withdrawn their customary $100 out this month I’ve been paying on our $800 plumbing bill from ages ago. I have to call my TMJ doctor and make an appointment because I had to cancel the last 2. I have to call my PCP and schedule an annual exam for myself and one for The Peach. Oh and I think Princess Punk too. And The Zen Master is having a vasectomy next month and I have to make sure I have that time off so I can drive him home and hold frozen peas to his nether regions. I have to go grocery shopping. Oh… And even though it’s not exactly a necessity, I have to get my nails done. It’s the only thing I do for myself and I’m going on 4 weeks without a fill (UV gel cover over my own nails) and they’re starting to threaten to break.

So that’s only 4 things right? Ugh. I’m going back to bed.

Nope. The Peach is “hungwy” because it’s noon already. I slept late this morning (all the way until 6:30) so I guess that’s why my day’s gone by so fast. Right?

I need more caffeine. And Ritalin. And maybe some vodka?

Finding “Baseline”

It’s done.

Over.

The monkey is gone. No more scratching, clawing and making our lives a constant uncertainty day after day after day after… You get the idea.

We closed. The old house is gone. In the capable hands of new owners who will love and care for and fit in the house, hopefully for many years to come.

Closing was $550 more than we were expecting.

So we’re that much farther behind. The scratch marks the monkey left behind are deep and raw and still quite tender. Christmas giving is going to be minimal this year. I’m estimating we will be recovered from the shortfall by January.

Just in time for taxes. We may bite the bullet and get an actual accountant this year, Between taxes on My Mom’s alimony, property tax on our house, rental income and expenses on the old house and the sale at a loss, this is going to be even more confusing than last year. BUT, an accountant will cost about $500 so I’m still going to try to do it myself. I don’t know if we can justify the expense when we’re already going to end up paying (probably a sizeable chunk) of taxes based on My Mom’s alimony. Yet again I voice my opinion that it is completely unfair that he gets a tax break on alimony and she has to pay taxes. The judges told her the settlement was inequitable in his favor in the first place, this just makes it that much worse. It’d be nice if he would pay some of the rest of the settlement off, her half of the house and all since she doesn’t have to pay taxes on that.

So anyway. Finances are still a giant clusterfuck and will continue to be for a while. We’ve passed the mess with the old house and survived and eventually, we will be better off.

There are lots of things that need to be done in our house that are just going to have to wait for now. We have to replace the front and side doors. The draft that comes in from the door on the side is enough to blow papers off of The Peach’s little drawing desk. And the front door isn’t much better. The pellet stove that we invested in last year is losing the battle to the drafts and so we are dumping money into both pellets and oil trying to combat the cold. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts this winter will be even colder and snowier than the last. Joy. It’s October 23. It snowed all last weekend. Just flurries and honestly not earlier than usual for our neck of the woods, but still a rude awakening that summer and autumn have flown by too fast and the only thing we have left to show for it are a few tail feathers consisting of an overgrown lawn and a pool full of fallen leaves.

Finances aside, I’m still reeling. I have this nagging anxiety that won’t go away. Like I’m waiting for something else to happen and the proverbial shit is going to hit the proverbial fan and we’ll be proverbially fucked. All the months of living in this constant state of stress and uncertainty have left me feeling shaky and unstable like I can’t get my feet on solid ground. I can’t concentrate. I can’t motivate myself. I am not functioning at my best right now. Which is totally annoying. I’m used to being sharp. On it. Capable. I’m none of those things right now. And it’s not a depression thing. I don’t think. Just this general film of unease that is clouding up my vision and clogging up my inner workings so my gears have to grind in order to move.

I don’t really remember normal. At least, normal for me. But I’d like to get there again. I’d like to find that sense of stability where things go wrong occasionally, but they’re not spirit-crushing catastrophes that leave me hopeless and slightly crazy. I’d like to get back to baseline. Back to a place where I can post in my blog and do my job and take care of my kids and do all those things that I’m normally capable of. Because the monkey is gone. And I want to be me again.

“Where the Eff Have I Been” Part II… The Money Pit

So… we’re selling attempting to sell our house. Not the one we’re living in. The one we were living in before. We’ve been unable to sell it for about 2 years.

We had a tenant for about a year and a half. Honestly, they were great. They always paid their rent on time and kept the place up pretty well. We were still in the red about $200 a month between our mortgage and escrow payment and the rental income. But manageable. The last 6 months they were there, we agreed they would go to a month-to-month lease so we could put the house back on the market. And lo and behold, we got an offer on the house… An offer of about $30,000 less than what we were asking.

We went back and forth for weeks and finally came to an agreement, $115,000 with $5000 from us back at signing. So basically $110,000. On a house I paid $143,000 for. On a house that I still owe $104,000 to the bank on. With the realtor’s fees, lawyer and various incidentals, we’d be out of pocket about $1,500. We decided it was worth it to, as my realtor put it, “get the monkey off our backs.” So we took the offer, signed a contract and hoped for a closing date towards the end of August. Which would work out really well because the tenants gave their 30-day notice 2 days before we got the offer we eventually accepted.

Then the fun really started.

The buyers are getting an FHA loan through Wells Fargo. FHA loans apparently require you to jump through about 500 hoops before they will give you money. As the sellers, we had to jump through a bunch of hoops ourselves.

The first hoop… not too bad. Just had to make sure the siding and skirting was all in place and the front porch didn’t have any peeling paint. No biggie.

The second hoop… Here’s where the trouble started. The septic. The bank required the septic be pumped and inspected. So the guy pumps the tank ($280) and informs us that the tank is “crumbling” and needs to be replaced. $2500. No. Wait. $3000, the tank is oddly shaped and requires extra labor for installation.

About 2 hours after I got the call informing me just how much the septic would be to replace, I get a text from the tenant (who was just getting the last of his things out of the house and cleaning, because he’s nice)…

The hot water heater is leaking and flooding the room

Great. The Zen Master rushes over there with his wetvac and cleans up the mess and waits for the (after-hours) plumber. Hot water heater is done. Needs to be replaced. $1700. Closing is now set for 9/8.

Septic needs to be pumped again before the tank is replaced. Only $260 this time. Closing is now set for 9/15.

Inspection. Not bad.

Appraisal.

Tie downs under the house are insufficient. Additional tie downs needed. $400.

Structural Engineer required to inspect the house and determine that the ramps and porch that are added on are not “compromising the structural integrity of the home.”

At this point I have received several collection calls from the mortgage company wondering why I haven’t paid September’s mortgage payment. Since the closing has now been pushed to 10/8, I bit the bullet and paid September. $1100, that we were planning on putting towards closing.

House itself is fine. Ramps and porch need retrofits to meet specifications. This time the buyer handles it.

Septic. Again. Requiring a scoping to make sure the pipes are ok. Everything is good, Septic company send the invoice with their report to the bank. Nope. Need a letter on company letterhead stating the septic is permitted for a 3 bedroom house and it is in good condition and will be sound given good maintenance. Closing is now 10/16.

Guess what? Septic is not permitted. Permit was never obtained because it was “Grandfathered in.”

So now I’m waiting on our realtor to argue with the bank and plead with the zoning office to try and sort this out. Closing is… I don’t even know if there will be a closing now.

We have no way to pay the mortgage on both houses without a tenant. At this point, if we cannot straighten this thing with the septic out, I will seriously consider letting the house go into foreclosure.

And the worst part? The buyers. They’re a 50+ couple who’ve never owned a home before with a handicapped son. The house is handicapped accessible so it’s truly the perfect home for them. They’ve painted inside and out, pressure washed and stained the deck, and did all the retrofits under the ramps and front porch. They’ve put as much into this as we have and they deserve this home. It infuriates me that the bank is making it so hard for them to buy their first home, all because it was the banks themselves who fucked up the whole housing situation in the first place.

So that’s caused a little bit of stress this summer. Another reason I haven’t posted I guess.

Anybody happen to have about $100,000 laying around and feel like getting this house off our hands?

Didn’t think so.

My “Where the eff have I been?” post, Part I – The D-Monster

Where have I been you ask?

Right here. All along. Just… Not HERE.

This summer has been… Challenging.

We spent much of the summer trying to get The D-Monster under control. We’ve still got a ways to go, but I am so proud of her. She is truly being compliant and working hard at maintaining a healthy blood sugar. The D-Monster however, is a bastard and Princess Punk is now experiencing lows on a daily basis. She was 38 during practice last week. TWICE. Like she tested and she was 38 and she had her 15 grams of carbohydrates and waited 15 minutes and tested again and she was STILL 38. At 38, she can barely walk, yet her coach still had to take her off the field because she kept playing. She’s proud about making Varsity and even more excited about starting, but she is continuing to try to impress her coach so he keeps playing her and as a result she plays through the nausea and shakiness that comes with the lows. So now I get to worry about her passing out or having a seizure or something because her sugar gets too low and she’s too hard-headed to stop playing. Fortunately, her coach is on the ball and noticed she wasn’t doing too well (she got pale and uncoordinated) but it took her another 15 minutes to get into the 80’s. She was okay by the time she got home. But then she had another low overnight. 54 this time and she couldn’t even get out of bed. Like, literally, unable to physically get up out of bed.

But… At least now that she is compliant with testing and covering her food, we have a better idea how much insulin she needs and when. Here is a kind of breakdown of what she has to deal with on any given day. I’ll start off simple.

  • Bg-Blood glucose. This is the number that reflects the number of milligrams per deciliter of sugar that is in her blood stream (and not getting into her cells where it’s needed). Our goal is anywhere from 70-120
  • Test– A Bg check. Princess Punk pricks her finger with a lancet and squeezes a tiny drop of blood onto a tiny little strip inserted into her meter. The meter will show a Bg reading within about 3 seconds. It also sends the reading to the pump via RF or something.
  • A1C– Hemoglobin A1C. A blood test that correlates to an approximately 3 month average of blood sugars. Non-diabetics are under 6. American Diabetes Association considers 7.5 fairly good control for a Type 1 Diabetic. Currently the Princess is hovering around 9.3.
  • Low– Bg below 70. Princess Punk has to stop whatever it is she is doing and have 15g of fast acting carbs. Juice or sugar tabs are preferable. Then she has to wait 15 minutes and test again. If she’s still below 70, she has to do it again (15g of carbs and 15 minutes to re-check)
  • High– Bg above 120. add insulin. See correction below.
  • Basal– A constant flow of fast-acting insulin
  • Bolus– An extra “boost” boost of insulin to administer when consuming carbs or when a Bg reads over the target range
  • The Pump– A nifty device that gives The Princess her basal and calculates and delivers boluses as well.
  • Infusion set– a little piece of plastic that is attached to a cannula that goes into Princess Punk’s skin (site). Usually an arm or leg. She doesn’t like using her stomach or butt. The little piece of plastic is attached to a (removable) piece of tubing that is attached to an insulin reservoir in her pump. That way she can remove the pump and tubing (showers, sports and swimming) without having to pull the site out of her flesh and redo it later. She’s supposed to change her site every other day. Not so much.
  • Ratio– the number of grams of carbs for each unit of insulin she takes. Because The D-Monster is an asshole, the amount of insulin she needs throughout the day varies. For example, her ratio first thing in the morning is around 5. Meaning that for every 5 grams of carbs she eats, she takes a unit of insulin. Her ratio at dinnertime is 6. We also have to make adjustments when she has her period and when she is playing soccer (or basketball in another month or so).
  • Correction– Complicated. a correction is what she needs when her blood sugar is too high. If she tests and gets a high, she will bolus 1 unit of insulin for every 12 mg/dl her Bg is over 120. Example… Princess Punk tests her sugar and gets a 220. That is 100 mg/dl of sugar in her blood that shouldn’t be there. So we take the 100 and divide by 12 and get… Crap. Math. Umm… 8.3333333333333. So she will do a bolus on her pump with 8.3 units of insulin in the hopes that her Bg will come down. Thank God for the pump. When she was on shots, we had to carry around a calculator to figure out how much insulin to give her. Not so fun when sitting in a restaurant in a tight booth trying to figure out how much to bolus for a heap of French fries and a strawberry lemonade combined with a Bg of 223, not to mention rounding it to the nearest half-unit. The pump can deliver in increments as small as 1/10 of a unit whereas shots go to a half unit and only if you have the right kind of delivery device (refillable pen vs. disposable pen vs. syringes). Oh and the needles present a problem too. Nothing like carrying a sharps container in your purse. Now she just presses a couple of buttons and she’s all set to eat.
  • Lantus– long-acting insulin. Normally if you have a pump, you just use your basal instead of the Lantus pen (kind of like an Epi-Pen but reusable). Princess Punk has to take off her pump (remove the tubing from the site) for several hours a day during sports. She can’t play or shower or swim with the pump on. Since she’s not getting her basal during that time period, her Bg was going through the roof during practices and games and whenever she went in the pool. To avoid this, we lowered her basal from the pump to a very small amount (basically just enough to keep the tubing from getting clogged) and then she takes a shot of Lantus before bed so her baseline is covered for a full 24 hours, regardless of whether she is wearing the pump or not. She still has to bolus on the pump for highs and for carbs.

Confused yet? Try this…

The other night, Princess Punk went to practice and came home around 5. Her site had gotten ripped out during a scrimmage so she had been unable to re-attach her pump and had to put in a new infusion set. She tested and was high at dinner so she did a correction along with the bolus for her meal. We must have miscalculated the carbs or the ratio because her Bg was 45. She looked a little gray and her hands were shaking. She had some juice, but 15 minutes later she was still low. She had some more juice and was finally in the 90’s. Then she took her Lantus at bedtime. Since we figured we had miscalculated at dinnertime, we dropped her Lantus down a few units so she wouldn’t have another low overnight. Of course, the next day she got her period and spent the whole day high with Bg averaging around 230. We gave her a temporary basal of 130% of normal to counteract the highs.

This is an example of why her A1C is still messed up even though now she’s compliant.

Got it?

Nah, we still don’t either.

 

Wow… Too Long…

So yes, it’s been a ridiculously long time. Like, ri-DONK-u-lous as my supervisor is apt to say.

And I am composing a “Where the eff have I been” post currently, but today, I first want to say…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCESS PUNK!

16 years ago today I became a mom for the first time. I was 20. I was clueless. I was terrified. And here I was with this tiny little angry potato (seriously, that’s what she looked like… newborn babies are not generally cute) that I didn’t know what to do with and yet loved with every ounce of my being. She was red. And angry. And just as clueless as I was.

Princess Punk has had a lot of obstacles in her life. I never should have gotten pregnant in the first place. Wait… That came out weird. What I meant… I’ve had poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) since puberty. I got my period 4 times a year, if that. It’s why we went through fertility treatments to get The Peach. So for me to have an “oops” pregnancy at 19 was actually kind of a miracle. When The Zen Master and I went in for our consultation for the fertility study, the nurse who interviewed us was genuinely surprised that I already had a child. She said that the chances of me conceiving without help would have been ridiculously low. But she got here.

Then, she ended up in the hospital on day 5 with severe dehydration, failure to thrive and an enlarged heart because I listened to the Nazi lactation nurse and refused to give her a bottle. What neither of us knew is that, due to wicked hormonal imbalances (i.e. PCOS), my milk would never come in, despite every effort to the contrary. So my little Princess nearly starved to death (quite literally) before she’d ever really had a chance at life. She rebounded quickly on formula and I got to wear this ridiculous contraption taped to my chest so she could still nurse while actually getting formula. But she made it.

I was unmedicated, undermedicated or poorly medicated throughout the first 5 years of Princess Punk’s life. As a result I had 2 suicide attempts and ended up hospitalized 3 times. Princess Punk was placed in my parents’ custody for some time and we shared custody for several years. When they moved here to VT, I stayed in FL to finish college and she came here to live with them. The Sperm Donor rarely saw her and when he did, he denied she was his and was downright mean to her. I recall once, when she was an infant, sitting in her car seat, he put his face about 6″ away from hers and yelled, just to make her cry. Asshole. And I myself was not a great mother to her in the beginning. I’d drop her off with various people and go out and smoke pot and drink with “my boys” while I left her at her paternal grandmother’s house (Sperm Donor’s mom) or some other really inappropriate place. Or just leave her with my parents while I did my own thing.  She has had to deal with a lot of issues surrounding those formative years where I was kinda just a sucky mom. But she did it.

And then The D-Monster reared it’s massively ugly head. And since then she’s struggled with ignorance and illness and high blood sugar and low blood sugar and medical releases and being turned away from the local summer camp because “they didn’t have the capacity to care for a child with uncontrolled diabetes.” That one still pisses me off. She’s 100 times better with compliance since her surgery got canceled and she decided she finally is ready to stop letting the D-Monster control her life. She still struggles. But she gets it.

Princess Punk blew my mind from day one. She continues to do so every day, in both good ways and bad. She has grown to become an amazing young woman. She is intelligent, kind, talented, beautiful, strong and brave. Even a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes has not stopped her from doing well in school, playing on Varsity Soccer (yes, starting on varsity as a sophomore), being a caring friend, a loving big sister and an amazing daughter and granddaughter. She is a force of nature, unwavering and unstoppable in her achieving her dreams. I am SO proud of you babygirl, Happy Birthday!

Oh, and BTW Princess Punk…

I Love you Forever,

I Like you For Always,

Even When You’re All Grown Up,

My Baby You’ll Be.

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